Every year, like most people lucky enough to do so, we go on vacation. (or ‘vacay’, as is popular in this text/word-truncated society) Hey Bob, I’m going on a vacay for a fam jam! Then, I need to see my doc for my ‘prost’.
We had much less time to work with (a week) than we would have hoped, but this is not the place for whining about that. I am self-employed, which means, in addition to getting to sleep with the boss, (myself) I have a self-imposed restriction on time off. You should have seen me! Trembling, as I looked at my reflection in the mirror, knowing how I could ill-afford the time off. Especially living the lavish lifestyle we do, in the lovely city of Vancouver. (dubbed ‘No Fun City’ due to its civic restrictions, or in the case of imminent earthquake, I dubbed ‘No Span City’)
My boss let me take the week off, as did my wife’s boss, and my kids’ teachers. Yes, I know. I did what I wished MY parents had done, and pulled me out of school, at the beginning of the year. It’s all review anyway the first month, right? Seeing the kids you hadn’t seen all summer, and now they are taller, and sport moustaches and boobs.
We had booked a ‘repositioning’ cruise, so named because the ships (and I am going out on a limb here) ‘reposition’ to their home ports. In any case, they are more affordable (for the likes of us, who fly normally fly in coach, and not take showers while flying), but with all trappings of a cruise ship: lots of food served by (mostly) every ethnic group other than Caucasian, and a strict ‘fun is mandatory’ policy.
BTW that’s the actual ship we were on.
Norwegian Cruise Line did an excellent job (again, we sailed with them on one another reposition cruise). This time we went down the west coast, with stops in Victoria, San Francisco (our favourite city in the US, maybe the world!), and Los Angeles, a city we had never been to before.
Here are some things we did on the ship, by no means exhaustive:
- rescued an exhausted aquatic bird (a storm-petrel?) that had somehow found its way on board. My son actually cradled it in his hand with no problem, it must have been too tired to escape. We left it behind a crate on the deck, and went in to get something for it to eat (it wanted an omelette, if it wasn’t much trouble). When we returned, it had
- became surprisingly accomplished at shuffleboard, a dubious transferable skill as I cannot find any tournaments on land
- Learned how to do the Cha Cha. Now THERE’
S something you can’t do on land! Though my beer said,
yes, you can dance, I do not think I have improved. So said my wife.
- There was a hairy chest and sexy legs contest, which I wisely decided to not partake in, especially as the whole affair is recorded, then broadcast in all passengers cabins, like CNN breaking news.
- Participated in a ping pong tournament and was promptly ousted by elderly Chinese gents who dispatched me in such an offhand manner that I pinched myself to make sure that I was still not in bed. Licked my wounds as I enjoyed a Moscow mule (the drink, ya perv).
- Observed an elderly lady in a wheelchair not enjoying her cruise. Inside the elevator, was heard to say to her daughter, ‘I want off this ship’. NCL’s new slogan?
- The (Swedish) captain would come on the intercom every morning, and treat us to a rambling, very Scandinavian ‘report from the bridge’. Very dry and somehow funny – was he purposely being drily funny, perhaps to combat the utter tedium of piloting a floating hotel up and down the coast? His dry transmissions began to prey on my mind, its Bergmanesque qualities that had me ruminating on the utter futility of life. All those omelettes you ate. What about all those eggs? The horror. Need I go on? Later on in the week, we learned that by shutting our cabin door, inserting earplugs, and putting our heads under the pillow, his voice would be reduced to a comfortable murmur.
- Lost track of where my cabin was, possibly the most unmanning and un-nautical event to occur on any vessel. Actual transcript of the dialogue in my head: Moan! Where’s my cabin? How come the numbers are going up? I want lower numbers! Wait, my number is not even there! Do I have the wrong number? Am I going to the stern or the aft? What IS the stern? Oh yeah, those little fish on the carpet are swimming in the direction of the stern! OOH, now I’m walking through a restaurant. Groan! I’m hungry now! Will I ever find my cabin?
- There was a bowling alley that we only found out about at the end of the cruise, so I am sad to report I did not score my first strike at sea. There must be a term for that. Like the Mile-High club, only bowling. At sea.
- Wherever you sit for dinner, a photographer will pop up and snap your picture, then, later, you can purchase these same pictures. Some, to my amusement, had cruisers with food bulging in their cheeks. And this picture here was when I had a mouthful of cordon bleu. I know, odd that I’d frame this one. This photographing will occur many times throughout the cruise, so smile and bear it. We had about 432 pictures taken, but only selected one. I wanted one with the captain, but missed the sitting. Talk about a picture you want in your wallet! Would having it allow me to drive in the HOV lines or text while driving? I’d put it in there, alright, right next to picture of a laminate floor I did myself.
- Ate a commendable and copious amount of food, and jogged on the ship’s jogging track in order to make myself feel better about it. BTW I also went on the elliptical, and looked at the dumbbells.
- Went under Lion’s Gate and the Golden Gate Bridges, that’s some
how special, isn’t it? We were waved at from both bridges. (ignored them, I didn’t pay this kind of money to wave at the ‘proles)
- We LOVE talking to the staff, even more so than with our fellow cruise mates (I believe that is the nautical term). One lovely lady from Grenada, was asked how she was doing, and replied, oh terribly, and couldn’t wait for her time off! I never hear that kind of honesty in Abercrombie and Fitch! Then, she went into detail about her home and family, whom she missed a great deal. They all work months-long contracts, and it must be a dreary existence dealing with us passengers and our stupid needs. Even as I listened to her story, I made several impositions, such as asking for some Evian water with ice cubes of frozen Evian. See? But seriously, they are all down to earth, and more than happy to chat. It pulls them out of the workaday existence and NCL likes it when they interact with us!
This just scratches the surface of what happened. I didn’t even tell you about the ship capsizing after everyone did the Cha Cha on one side of the ship. Or the Conga Line tragedy. I really COULD write a book. Anyway, I enjoyed writing this and hope it amused you. If I can amuse just one person, well, then I’ve done a shite job.